True vision originates far more from the heart than the eyes, just as music is something that can be felt with the soul as much as heard with ears. At TED-Ed club, visionaries from around the world inspire us, but we are particularly drawn to the young ones who truly hold the future in their hands.
We recently invited TEDxKids@Yerevan speakers and TED-Ed club members to contribute to UNICEF’s ongoing #IMAGINE project, an “initiative uniting millions of people to raise awareness and funds for children’s rights globally.”1 UNICEF, in partnership with Yoko Ono and David Guetta, asked people from around the world to record their own version of John Lennon’s classic song and submit their videos using a digital app. Kristine Sargsyan facilitated workshops and composer and musician Gisane Palyan helped 25 young Armenians became temporary singer-songwriters as we accepted UNICEF’s invitation to this global sing-along.
The participants were divided up to draft new lyrics, and collaboratively decided on the final version of the song as one large group. Of course, this exercise was not just to produce the single best version of Imagine that we could. Like all things with TED-Ed club, we used this experience so the kids would understand how imagination and innovation work. Creativity is a long process of give and take,
ruining everything and starting over again, and creating something new. It also involves challenging tradition, even if others might criticize them for doing so.
Importantly, they began to understand that they have skills and capacities that they were unaware of, especially related to musical ability. We challenged each of the students there to break away from their belief that they were tone deaf or “un-musical”, and realize that they could write awesome lyrics to a song and know what sounds good or not. As Gisane shared in her master class, some people are
lucky enough to have a musical ear that works in the physical world, but everyone has an inner musical voice that doesn’t need any training at all.
The TED-Ed club kids went beyond simply recording an Armenian translation of the song; they wrote entirely new lyrics encompassing their hopes for the world. Our young visionaries dared to do something fresh even to something so famous and well known. When asked what they heard inside of them as they listened to an instrumental recording of Lennon’s song, the replies were as unique as each participant: A world without borders, so people could travel with freedom and not visas. A world with no need for airplanes even, because someday humans will be able to fly. Tolerance, nondiscrimination, diversity and inclusiveness for all types of humans. Dreamers working hard to reach what was once only imagined.
Here is the song